The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 05/04/2009 2:59 PM | City
Students, parents and teachers flooded the usually congested Jl. Jend. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta from 6 to 9 a.m. on Sunday to celebrate the National Education Day, which fell on Saturday.
As the city administration barred motorists from entering the two thoroughfares during the event, students from schools across the city demonstrated their talents during the festival.
"We have been preparing our stand since 11 p.m. last night," Nur, a maths teacher from a state junior high school in West Jakarta told The Jakarta Post. The early start was worth it, he added.
"People stopped by and looked at our school's achievements; some even took pictures of our stand," he said, pointing out the decorated stand displaying a number of trophies the school had won.
Some students used the festival to display their talents and skills. Jose, a student from Penabur BPK junior high school said he was proud to be able to show his robot-building skills to visitors.
"A man even questioned me about my prototype. He asked whether it *the robot* could be used to transport garbage," he said, while holding his colorful crane-like robot.
Robot-building is a recent addition to their school's list of extracurricular activities, Jose said.
Aldi and his friends from state junior high school 187 in West Jakarta also enjoyed their moment of fame that day. Using a worn-out acoustic guitar and hand claps, they performed pop songs for passersby. Most of the songs were from their favorite local rock band, The Changcuters.
"Next year we'll perform as a full band!" Aldi said, while giving his friend a high five.
Luki, one of Aldi's friends, said the event also gave him a chance to see what students in other schools were up to.
"Some of the kids were doing amazing stuff we've never seen before," he said.
The event brought the teenagers other sources of entertainment.
"We met with girls from other schools too," he said with a guffaw.
Apart from the inter-school romance, Dedi, father of nine-year-old Lukman who came to watch his friends perform karate, said the event did little to boost solidarity among students from different schools.
"There should have been introductory sessions between students after the event," Dedi said. "They are becoming more individualistic."
Nevertheless, most parents found the day entertaining.
"I was going to Monas this morning, but on the way, I saw the fes-tivity and decided to join in," Nana, a resident living near Jl. MH Thamrin said.
Her husband who was pushing their baby on a stroller agreed, "It's nice to be able to walk through the city's main roads like this."
Despite the ban on personal motorized vehicles, several motorcycles still found their way among pedestrians, bikers, and Transjakarta buses, which were the only motorized transportation allowed during the three-hour event. (dis)